Grey's Anatomy Universe Wiki
Grey's Anatomy Universe Wiki

Life Support is the eighth episode of the sixth season and the 106th overall episode of Private Practice.

Short Summary[]

We follow Cooper from the moment of conception through a nasty fight with Charlotte, which inadvertently threatens the lives of their triplets. Meanwhile, Violet comforts a friend who is being advised to take her partner off life-support.

Full Summary[]

At 5:33 AM, Cooper shuts off his alarm clock. He looks directly into the camera and says it's day 182 of the pregnancy. They're at 26 weeks and multiples are usually born around week 32. So, he's savoring every last minute of this pregnancy. He looks at his sleeping wife and wonders how he got so lucky. This is what he's wanted his entire life. To take care of his pregnant wife and a house full of kids.

Cooper is in the shower. He's not really a morning person, but there's so much to do now that it's all about multitasking.

Cooper says the babies are the size of lettuce. He has an app for that. Brain developement is in high gear right now, so he has to make sure Charlotte gets the right nutrition. Sometimes, Charlotte does get a little moody when he gives her her vitamins, but he doesn't take it personally. It's all he can do now to contribute.

Cooper says breakfast is Charlotte's least favorite meal, so he likes to give her a lot of options. He carries a tray filled with breakfast food into the bedroom. He tells Charlotte to wake up. She hates the breakfast buffet. Charlotte says it's too early. He disagrees, but she meant the babies. Her water just broke. The babies are coming.

8 weeks: raspberries

Charlotte tells Cooper they're having three babies. She starts pacing. He looks into the camera and says he knows Charlotte doesn't even want one kid, but he's totally excited. He asks if she's okay, but she's not. While Charlotte says stuff about an IUD being 99% effective, Cooper tells the camera he knows the night of conception. It was the night in the shower where they did this really special thing. Charlotte wonders how they're going to take care of three babies. Cooper asks if it's okay he's a little bit excited. She says it is, as long as he doesn't expect her to be.

12 weeks: plums

Addison is giving Charlotte an ultrasound. Cooper is really excited, but Charlotte says all ultrasounds are the same. Addison finds the three babies and Cooper greets them, totally convinced you can see these kids are his and Charlotte's. Charlotte worries about having to cancel travel plans, but Addison says she's not terminally ill. Charlotte recalls Addison saying one of the three might not make it. Addison says there's a 53% chance of spontaneous reduction, but that usually happens in the first trimester so Charlotte's almost in the clear. Addison wants to talk about the risks of carrying triplets, but Charlotte needs to go back to the hospital. Cooper says she needs to hire a new ER doc and focus on the plums.

14 weeks: lemons

Charlotte and Cooper walk into the kitchen of the practice and Charlotte announces to their colleagues that she's pregnant, since she can't hide it anymore. As they congratulate her, Charlotte asks who already knew. Cooper looks into the camera and says that if there's a time to lie, it's right about now. Charlotte tells everyone not to lie. Everybody knew except Sheldon. Addison told Jake because she wanted to hear what he knew about carrying multiples. Amelia caught Cooper looking for baby names and Cooper asked Sam when Naomi started wearing maternity clothes. Sheldon says it's fantastic news. Charlotte is excited about the fact that her body might absorb one of them, which Violet and Cooper think is terrible of her to say. Amelia asks if they're going to find out the sex, but Addison says they need to be closer to 18 weeks for that. Cooper would want it to be a surprise, but Charlotte says the triplets are already enough of a surprise. 

Cooper is relaxing with Violet in her office. She says she threw out everything or donated to charity. She still has Pete's toothbrush. As Violet talks about it, Cooper looks into the camera and says that he needs to focus on death as Violet's talking about it, but all he can think about is new life and babies. Cooper asks if she shouldn't be talking to someone. Violet says she's got him and grief group, which sort of helps. It sucks that Pete died. Cooper says he's sorry for her and hugs her. He tells the viewers that he can't do this as he's in babyland. Violet thanks him for listening and leaves. Cooper says he's a bad friend and tells the viewers to go be with Violet.

Gabi, a woman from grief group, meets Violet at the hospital. Violet says she's not at the group because she lost time checking up on a patient. Gabi says she's here to see Ally every day, to let her know that she loves her. Violet says they won't be too late if they leave now, but they actually both don't want to go. Gabi feels like there's a little bit of a pecking order at the group. Violet walks off, but then turns around and asks Gabi if she wants company.

Addison tells Cooper and Charlotte that all the tests they ran are negative, so the chances the babies have any chromosomal abnormalities are very slim. Cooper thinks that's great. Contrary to Charlotte, Cooper does want to discuss risks. Charlotte says she knows the risks. Cooper tells the viewers he's about to kill Charlotte, but he should wait until the babies are born. Addison wants to get the babies to 32 weeks. Anything before 26 weeks may result in neurological and cognitive impairments. Charlotte says she's got it and walks out. Addison asks Cooper to talk to Charlotte about the risks.

Cooper and Charlotte are lying awake. Cooper asks if there's anything he can do. Go back in time and wear a condom, she says. Cooper says he talked to Addison. They're looking at a lot of possible obstetric complications. He lists all the risk and Charlotte repeats she knows them. Cooper wants to talk about selective reduction as it decreases the risk of severe prematurity, but Charlotte doesn't want to hear it. She won't abort. He asks what the difference is with one of them being absorbed. Charlotte says absorbed is a higher power at work, abortion is just her doing. She knows the procedure of selective reduction and she doesn't want it. She goes to pee. Cooper tells the viewers he knows it's horrible to suggest the procedure, but he wonders if it's justified if it means saving the two other babies or knowing for sure that Charlotte will be okay. He's the dad so he should have a say, but right now Charlotte is doing all the work. He doesn't want to lose Charlotte or any of his babies. Charlotte comes back in and reminds him that they told Mason he was having three siblings. 

16 weeks: avocados

Charlotte, Cooper, and Mason are in a store to look for a stroller. The sales lady says the truth is it's best to carry your baby and hold them close. Charlotte gets a little cranky and wonders how she's supposed to do that with triplets. Cooper thanks her and the lady walks off. Charlotte tells Mason that when you're pregnant, everybody's got an opinion and they all want to give advice. Cooper decides Charlotte needs a hug so he and Mason hug her.

Gabi and Violet are sitting on a bench. Gabi mentions Violet didn't talk about Lucas today. Violet says he stopped asking about Pete. She sometimes worries he won't remember his dad, but she thinks that may be good. Gabi says she might just need amnesia too as you can't miss someone you forgot about, but then she says she's already starting to forget things, like the name of the restaurant where they had their first date. Gabi is still hoping she can will Ally into waking up. None of the doctors know when and if she'll wake up. Gabi refuses to give up.

Amelia is looking at the ultrasound pictures and gets excited for them. Charlotte starts whining about all things she has to do or stop eating because of the pregnancy. Cooper tells the viewers it's not smart of Charlotte to whine to Amelia, who gave birth to a brainless baby. Amelia says it could help if they threw her a baby shower, but Charlotte refuses again.  Cooper informs the viewers Charlotte really hates women who give baby showers, because they're all that sort of woman who thinks the world needs to stop because they're pregnant. At that moment, Charlotte is saying exactly that to Amelia. Amelia says there's no danger of Charlotte ever becoming that woman. Amelia reminds her they'll need to buy everything in triplicate. Charlotte asks if the shower just means that people are gonna be buying her stuff. Amelia confirms, which makes Charlotte agree. Cooper says Charlotte forgot to thank her.

18 weeks: sweet potatoes

Violet walks into Cooper's office with lunch. It's their time to talk commiserate about their lives. Cooper tells the viewers he forgot about lunch. Violet figures that out, too. Cooper says Addison is about to do another ultrasound. Violet is not mad and says he can go.

Charlotte again refuses to have an amnio. Addison does the ultrasound. Cooper greets the babies and asks if they missed him. Charlotte wonders how they could, seeing he talks to them every damn day. Cooper tells the viewers he read in a book that makes the babies more secure and well-adjusted. Addison tells them the girls look good. Cooper cheers and says girls are awesome, but Charlotte sighs.

19 weeks: mangoes

Cooper comes home and hears Charlotte groaning. She's lying on the bed because she's tired and everything is too tight. The mangoes are making her feel miserable. Cooper sarcastically remarks to the viewers you'd never know that. Charlotte's not too excited about the girls either. She doesn't like girls. They're sweet to their daddies, but they're mean to their mamas from puberty to age 20. It's only worse when they become women. Cooper says she's a nice woman and they'll raise them to be like her. He adds to the viewers that he hopes they'll meet a man as patient and selfless as he is, although he won't let them date until they're 30, remembering how awful he was until 6 years ago.

Amelia is in Ally's room with Violet, who asks her about the odds. Amelia says there are no odds as Ally has no cortical activity. She's brain-dead, so she'll never wake up. Gabi comes in and asks who Amelia is. Violet introduces Amelia. Gabi says she didn't ask for another opinion and throws them out.

20 weeks: bananas

Cooper and Mason are looking at houses on the Internet. The big houses are awfully expensive. Cooper tells the viewers he wanted to surprise Charlotte and wonders how their kids will turn out to be and if their living situation will have an impact on that. Mason asks if they'll like the babies more than him. He says it happens. Cooper says babies can be disgusting and assures Mason he's way more fun than babies. Besides, they're gonna be the only dudes in the house so they gotta stick together.

Cooper and Charlotte are at a prenatal class, following the instructor's guidelines. During the breathing exercises, Charlotte sarcastically remarks that they all know how to breathe. The woman sitting next to them says it's hard to follow the instructions when Charlotte's being so negative. Showtime, Cooper tells the viewers. Charlotte tells the woman she won't even think about this class when she's giving birth. Cooper and Charlotte start discussing in what position the other couples had sex to conceive. The woman asks if they're going to ruin this beautiful experience for everyone. Charlotte tells the woman to lighten up, but the instructor thinks it's time for them to go. 

Charlotte and Cooper enter the woman's restroom, kissing. If Cooper had known getting thrown out was going to turn on Charlotte, he'd have gotten them in sooner. They get ready to have sex as the woman who got them thrown out walks in. Charlotte asks if she minds as she's trying to screw her husband. The woman sighs and leaves.

22 weeks: papayas

While playing basketball, Cooper tells Sam and Jake that a mother of a patient asked if it was okay to have sex during her pregnancy while in her second trimester. He read something online about a woman who went into labor prematurely after having sex. Jake asks if it's a high-risk pregnancy. Cooper says it's multiples. Jake asks when he and Charlotte had sex. Like a week ago, Cooper says. Jake says something would've happened already if it were going to, but he advises Cooper to keep it in his pants from now on. Cooper thinks they're prepared, but Sam says you never are. Jake says it's also different when it's three babies. Sam advises him to stop using the Internet to look for medical advice. Cooper says he's gonna be the best, most prepared dad in history.

Violet stays behind at the grief group to talk to Gabi. She knows she overstepped by getting a consult for Abby, but she did so because she started to think of Gabi as a friend and she wanted to help. Gabi says they are friends. Two doctors already told her the same thing Amelia did, but she just couldn't hear it. She went to see a psychic, which she knows is insane, and she told her there was hope. Gabi asks if Pete was the love of her life. Violet doesn't reply. Gabi says Ally is the love of her life. She was married to a wonderful man for eight and a half years, and she didn't know there could be more until she met Ally. Gabi can't even begin to explain how that feeling felt. She's afraid that if she pulls the plug on Ally, no one's ever gonna love her like Ally did again. Gabi says she's a terrible person for thinking about herself while Abby's lying there like that. Violet confesses she was relieved when Pete died. She never told anybody and never said it out loud. She misses him all the time, but Pete was complicated and difficult and she tried for so long to work out their issues. Now, the argment's finally over. Violet does think he was the love of her life and it hurts that he's gone, but she's relieved. Gabi says Ally's death won't make her feel relieved. She wants her back. Violet comforts her. 

24 weeks: cantaloupes

Mason asks Cooper if he can go to Isaac's brother's bar mitzvah. Sure he can. Mason asks if he can have one of those too. Charlotte asks if he wants to be jewish. Mason says maybe. Cooper says that's cool, so he can pave the way for the triplets. Charlotte asks if he wants them to be jewish. Cooper wants to transfer that piece of heritage. Charlotte wants the babies to be baptized. Cooper tells the viewers he's not exactly living a jewish life, but there's no way they'll be baptized. All his ancestors would roll over in their graves. Mason says his mother took him to church on certain holidays. Charlotte would like their children to celebrate Easter and Christmas. Cooper says they shouldn't decide their religion based on the nicest holidays. Cooper tells the viewers he'd totally lose that battle, although christianity is not always nice either. Charlotte suggests they expose the babies to both religions and let them decide. She tells Cooper to think about it as they've got plenty of time.

26 weeks: lettuce

Charlotte is being wheeled into the ER, screaming the babies won't make it. James is there to take care of her until Addison arrives. Cooper drops Mason off with a nurse. Cooper tells the camera that it wasn't supposed to be like this. He walks after Charlotte and holds her hand as she screams.

Addison has arrived. James tells her what he tried to stop the labor as Addison sits down to see what's going on. One of the triplets is presenting as a footling breach. They need to deliver right away. Charlotte says their lungs aren't developed, but Addison says they don't have a choice. Jake is getting ready to assist her. James asks a nurse to inform the NICU. Addison starts delivering and once the baby arrives, she takes the girl to care for her. Jake checks if the other membranes are still intact. Charlotte asks Addison why the baby isn't crying. Jake says the other membranes are intact, so if the meds work, the contractions will stop. Charlotte asks if they'll stop until she's at 32 weeks. Addison says she could stitch up Charlotte's cervix. That will delay delivery for the other babies, giving them the chance to mature. Jake says there are significant risks, including a 30% chance of Charlotte dying. Addison comes back and says the baby's got ectopia cordis, so she needs surgery. Charlotte is scared and asks Cooper what they should do. Cooper calmly tells her to let Addison sew up her cervix, and he'll go be with their daughter, and everything's going to be okay. He wants her to say she's not going to die, which she does. They kiss and he goes after their daughter.

Violet is in Ally's room with Gabi. Violet asks if she's ready. Gabi says no. She thanks Ally for having loved her and having been the love of her life. She kisses Ally on the forehead. Amelia unhooks Ally from the ventilator while Violet comforts Gabi.

In the NICU, Cooper asks Sam to tell him about the procedure. So Sam does. Cooper asks if they can't wait till she's a little a stronger, but Sam says she won't get stronger without the surgery. Cooper says Sam can do it. They wheel the incubator out of the NICU. Cooper walks after them as Violet comes over. She just heard. She hugs him. Cooper says he's been a bad friend for having been so wrapped up with Charlotte. Violet is proud of him for that. It's good to see man care so much about his wife and children. She then tells Cooper to go see his daughter.

Sam is operating as Cooper enters the OR. The pressure crashes and as he fixes it, Sam suggests Cooper wait outside, but Cooper insists on staying. Sam his to flip the heart under the graft. The pressure comes back up. Cooper cries in relief.

Cooper is standing outside the NICU, talking to himself. He says being a parent sucks. Erica did all the work with Mason and now he's just standing there looking at his daughter, not knowing if she'll be okay. Maybe he should've fought harder to reduce. But they're a team and Charlotte is trying to keep their other babies safe and he doesn't know how to do this. He needs more time. He's not ready. He wonders who gets enough time? Pete and Violet didn't. His family needs him, because he's the dad now. It's time to step up and do his job, because being the dad is the greatest gift in the world.

Addison meets with Cooper and says the procedure went well. Charlotte is sleeping. They're not entirely out of the woods though, as Addison had to put her into Trendelenburg, which could prevent her from going into labor again. She'll have to stay like that until she gives birth. That position has some risks, and Charlotte won't be able to see her baby. Addison says she's sorry, but Cooper thanks her.

Cooper is sitting next to his baby and talks to her. He apologizes for not having given her a name yet. He needs her to fight to stay in this family, because they don't know what she's like yet. He'll gladly accept whatever she's into, because he's her dad and he'll jump right in whatever she likes with her. He loves her. They can't lose her. He says her mother is christian and he's jewish and he doesn't know what she'll be, but he wants to hedge his bets. He stole a little bottle of holy water from the chapel and he pours a little onto the incubator, asking his daughter not to tell her mother. He tells his daughter that her dad is looking out for her.

Cooper is sleeping next to the incubator as Amelia comes in with Mason. Amelia wakes him up. Cooper thanks her for bringing Mason. She says no problem and goes to wait outside. Cooper shows Mason his sister. Mason asks if he can touch her. Cooper has him disinfect his hands and then allows him stroke the baby's hand. Mason asks if she's gonna die. Cooper honestly says he doesn't know. Mason asks what the baby's name is. Cooper says they didn't decide yet as they thought they were gonna have more time. Mason wishes his sister a happy birthday.

Cooper disinfects his hands and tells us that Charlotte's always been the strong one and he loves her for that, but it's his turn now. He enters Charlotte's room and kisses her. He sits down and tells her their daughter is alive. Charlotte is relieved and cries. 


Main Cast[]

Guest Stars[]


Medical Notes[]

Charlotte King[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Pregnancy
  • Treatment:
    • Prenatal care
    • Vaginal delivery
    • Tocolytics
    • Cervical cerclage

Charlotte was pregnant with triplets. At 12 weeks, she had an ultrasound. At 14 weeks, Addison did tests that detected no chromosomal abnormalities. At 18 weeks, she had another ultrasound that showed that all three babies were female. When she was 26 weeks pregnant, her water broke. In the ER, James tried to stop her labor, but Addison said the first baby was presenting as a footling breech and had to be delivered immediately. After the baby was born, Jake determined that the remaining membranes were intact and labor had stopped, so Addison said she'd sew Charlotte's cervix shut in order to delay the other two babies being born. Addison put her in Trendelenburg and said she'd likely have to stay that was until she delivered.


  • Diagnosis:
    • Brain death
  • Treatment:
    • Life support

Ally was on life support because she was brain dead. When Violet finally got Gabi to understand that Ally wasn't coming back, she agreed to turn off life support and Ally died.

Baby King-Freedman[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Prematurity
    • Ectopia cordis
  • Treatment:
    • Surgery
    • NICU care

The first of Charlotte and Cooper's triplets was born at 26 weeks. She had ectopia cordis, so Sam took her into surgery to cover the area with mesh to protect her chest cavity. He said she'd need a skin graft in a year. The surgery was successful and she was stable in the NICU after surgery.


Song Performer Scene
"Lil' Darlin" Young Girls
  • Cooper and Charlotte get thrown out of parenting class. They go to make out in the bathroom.
"Born Young" These United States
  • Cooper, Sam, and Jake pay basketball ask Cooper asks them about having sex with a pregnant woman.
"Flickering Light" Dark Captain
  • Cooper runs to see their first premature baby.
  • Gabi thanks and says goodbye to Ally. Violet comforts her.
  • Sam informs Cooper on the procedure they need to do on the baby.
  • The baby gets taken to surgery as Violet arrives to comfort Cooper.
  • Sam operates with Cooper watching.
"Second Chances" Gregory Alan Isakov
  • Cooper keeps an eye on his baby and talks to her. He pours holy water onto the incubator.
  • Mason arrives in the NICU to meet his sister.
  • Cooper decides to be the strong one and goes to see his wife.

Notes and Trivia[]

  • This episode scored 4.42 million viewers.
  • This episode is focused on Cooper.
  • This episode breaks the fourth wall as Cooper addresses the audience directly on multiple occasions.


Episode Stills[]

Behind the Scenes[]


Cooper: Is there anything I can do?
Charlotte: Go back in time and wear a condom.

See Also[]

A complete overview of this episode's crew can be found here.